On Saturday morning on my daily walk around the park, I heard the tell-tale high thin zee-zee-zee of a kinglet as I walked by the tennis courts on the top of the hill on the southwest side of the lake. There were at least 4 golden-crowned kinglets flitting through the conifer trees, foraging. With that, I declare spring officially here. They were still in the same area on sunday as well.
On that note, I've found the conifers and brush in the area around the tennis courts to be consistently the best spot in the park to see songbirds. It's a real shame that the park board came through last fall and clearcut all of the underbrush from this area as it was great habitat for migrating warblers, vireos, flycatchers, etc. I'm going to try to keep notes on how many migrating birds I see in this area of the park this year compared to last. I hope it isn't significantly reduced, but I fear it may be.
I also took a trip down to the bass ponds at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge over the weekend with a couple neighbors. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and the waterfowl is definitely coming through the area. The spring melt has pushed the water level up to at least 10 feet above its normal level, which resulted in a bit of flooding of paths and walkways, but we were still able to get through most areas. A brief sampling of sightings: bufflehead (my first), mergansers (both hooded and common), blue-winged teal, killdeer, american coot, and quite a large number of song sparrows.